Expect excellence from Osprey's "Aircraft of the ACEs" series. This one, #15, is no exception. A brief history of the V-VS preceeds the chronicle of its record, from battle to battle, during the War. After the massive losses of Barbarossa, the Red air force very gradually, and at great cost, achieved air superiority. The progression of improvements in tactics is covered quite nicely in the text. The book contains many rare action photos from Soviet and German military archive, descriptions of all the fighter aircraft in the Soviet inventory, bios of the ACEs, color plates of uniforms and individual pilots' aircraft, reproductions of propaganda posters, and plenty of lists and stats. In addition is information about the famous "Free French" Normandie Niemen regiment and Polish, Czech, Romanian and Yugoslav divisions; female regiments and women ACEs; "suicide" (taran) rammers; and "legless wonders" -- amputees who returned to the front and flew with artificial limbs. Readers of this book will also appreciate Osprey #6,"Fw 190 ACEs of the Russian Front" and Time-Life's out-of-print (Epic of Flight) "The Soviet Air Force at War".
I was pleasantly surprised as to the information contained in this small, but compact, volume. On the areas that I had expertise in, I found the writers to be highly accurate. At first, I thought that the book would be another one of those flashy paperbacks with no substance or depth. I learned a lot about the Aces, the aircraft, the techniques, and the capabilities of the Soviet Airmen and Airwomen. I will now, (in fact I already have), buy more in this informative series. (I wish that the publisher would come out with a volume on Italian WWII Aces and Spanish Civil War Aces...if they do, I'm buying them)
Hugh Morgan does a fine job of bringing these heretofore unknown pilots to life, considering the limited research material that he had to work with. What makes this volume interesting to me is that it goes into more detail than other volumes about the different Soviet aircraft which were flown. It's very easy to assume that all they had were MiGs and YaKs! Mr. Morgan clears that issue up very nicely. This book is well worth buying.